Review: ADS Technologies Red Rover with Audition
Posted Feb 18, 2005

ADS Technologies is first and foremost a hardware company, best known for video capture cards and converter boxes like Pyro and InstantDVD. But what's equally significant, if lesser known, about ADS is that they offer Adobe software in HW/SW bundles at bargain prices, such as the Pyro Professional bundle which stuffs Premiere Pro, Encore, and Audition in the same box (along with the Pyro DV capture card) for under $600.

A more recent product of their partnership with Adobe is the Red Rover with Audition bundle, which combines Adobe's powerful audio editor with ADS' Red Rover remote controller. Audition, successor to the ever-popular Cool Edit Pro (which Adobe acquired from Syntrillium in 2003), is the kind of multitrack powerhouse you could write a whole book on; I should know, since I edited a book on the topic last spring, Peachpit Press' Visual QuickStart Guide to Adobe Audition by former EMedia associate editor and Waxing Digital columnist Jeff Partyka ( Partyka tells you way more about Audition than I could possibly attempt to here.

Red Rover is a little easier to explain in a short space. One of the difficulties of computer-based audio recording is positioning yourself or your bandmates so you don't have to be crowded on top of each other and creating all manner of interference and unwanted hum just to stay within arm's reach of the PC keyboard and mouse to work the recording and mixing controls on your audio tool. Enter Red Rover, which integrates closely with Audition to give you up to ten feet of breathing room (via USB cable) with full control of the software's virtual knobs via the actual knobs on the Red Rover device.

Red Rover, like Audition, is a full-fledged multitrack tool. An LCD panel shows you which session and track you're working on as well as a decibel meter. The controller's knobs and buttons let you set the active track and adjust levels remotely, with volume adjustments for both master and individual tracks. You don't get all the capabilities you'd have with a device like the Mackie Universal controller, but it isn't really ADS' aim to compete with that. Red Rover is scaled to digital audio recording environments with software-only budgets, but provides additional hardware controls that can make a small studio feel—and be—much less confining.

System Requirements: 400MHz (2GHz+ recommended) PC with 64MB RAM (512MB recommended) running Windows 2000/XP; 775MB available HDD space for software installation; stereo sound card (multitrack sound card recommended); DirectX 9; free USB port.